The mantra “always be prepared” is a tried and true statement. Javon Mason took those words to heart. When his name was called, he didn’t disappoint as he rushed for 117 yards as the Valley Tigers easily dispatched an undersized Des Moines East Scarlets team, 56-7, in a Class 4A first round game at Valley Stadium.
Tigers scored by land and by air, literally, and Mason landed the knockout punch when he out-rushed the Scarlets’ defense for a 78 yard touchdown run as the third quarter ended. Mason has become into a reliable go-to guy when he fills in for starting running back Drew Gray. The Tigers’ offense netted 491 total yards and converted on five of eight third downs on an East defense that led Class 4A in takeaways.
Drew Gray scored two of his three touchdowns on the first two Valley drives, one from 10 yards and the second from 6. Gray did much of his work in the first half, carrying the ball 10 times for 90 yards and tacked on a third touchdown in the second quarter. Blake Salsbury’s 4 yard run into the endzone bumped the Valley lead to 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.
It was an unusually quiet night for Tigers’ quarterback Rocky Lombardi and wide receiver Dominique Dafney (1 reception, 19 yards). Lombardi completed 6 of 11 passes for 183 yards and two scores. The first came with 4:17 left in the first half on a 21-yard swing pass to Drew Gray, and the second one with 55 seconds before the break when he found Austin Hinkle streaking towads the endzone and hit him for a 49-yard strike. The Hinkle score sent Valley into the locker room with a 42-0 lead at the break.
East got on the scoreboard with 1:28 left in the third quarter on a seven yard touchdown run by quarterback Chino Alcala, who led the Scarlets in passing (12-22, 130 yards, 2 interceptions), and rushing (15 carries, 36 yards). That score was sandwiched between two more Dowling touchdowns. Backup quarterback Will Loundsbury connected with Peter Lewis for an 11-yard score and the aforementioned long scoring run by Mason.
Juleo Harris hauled in 4 catches for 40 yards for East as they concluded their season at 4-5.
Valley (9-1) advances to the second round on Monday, November 3rd, as they will host the Johnston Dragons. The Dragons (7-3) stunned Ankeny Centennial (7-3), 34-6, at Ankeny Stadium in a first-round game.